Giovinazzi delighted to make it through to Q3 in France

Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA) Alfa Romeo Racing C38.
© XPB 

Antonio Giovinazzi was celebrating making it through to the final round of qualifying for the French Grand Prix, and securing the best starting grid position in his F1 career to date

The 25-year-old Italian previously made it into Q3 at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April, but subsequently suffered a penalty for the use of additional power unit elements which sent him to the back of the grid.

That's not the case this weekend at the Circuit Paul Ricard, and Giovinazzi will start tomorrow's race where he qualified - from tenth on the grid.

“I am very happy about our performance today," he said. "It’s been a positive qualifying and I am very pleased to be back in the top ten."

Giovinazzi laid out his objective of taking his first championship point in tomorrow's race. His best result up to now was 11th place in Bahrain, meaning he narrowly missed out on doing so on that occasion.

"[It is] important tomorrow to try and take finally our first point," he acknowledged. "We start from the top ten so we need to be there for the rest of the race."

The strong qualifying session is a welcome boost and return to form for the Alfa Romeo team, which has been struggling for pace in recent weeks and sliding backwards down the running order.

"There were a few factors behind this result," Giovinazzi explained. "The new upgrades package seems to be working well, and we were able to make the most of the tyres in these conditions.

"The track kept improving from lap to lap, so it was important to nail the last one in each part of qualifying.

Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA) Alfa Romeo Racing C38.

"The only negative aspect is that we will be one of only two cars starting on soft tyres," he admitted. "But we can find a strategy that helps us stay in the points.

"We have good pace and hopefully we can get the good result that has been eluding us for too long.”

Saturday's qualifying didn't work out quite so well for his more experienced team mate Kimi Raikkonen, who missed out on joining Giovinazzi in Q3 by a little over a tenth of a second at the end of the second round.

"Unfortunately, I made a mistake on my last Q2 lap, so it wasn’t a surprise to be out of the top ten," said the former world champion.

"We were definitely competitive enough to get into Q3," he added. "The new parts we brought to this race have given us something more.

"We’re still in a good position for the race: we can choose our tyres and the car is working quite well, so I guess we’ll find out how it goes tomorrow.”

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